THE latest rankings demonstrate just how close Blackpool boxer Matty Askin is to a British title.
He is now rated No.3 cruiserweight in the list produced by the sport’s ‘trade’ magazine Boxing News, which is the nearest you will get to anything official.
And there are question marks about whether the two fighters ahead of him in the BW standings, No.1. Enzo Maccarinelli and Terry Dunstan, will carry on in the ring.
The picture is muddied by the fact that reigning British champion Rob Norton is not on the list as he has not boxed since January 2010.
He still holds the Lonsdale Belt but cruiserweight has always been something of a Cinderella division. Askin’s brief is to give it credibility and build a base for his future.
After last month’s win over gnarled Argentinian veteran Juan Manuel Garay at Blackpool Tower, Matty and his long-time sweetheart Samantha Conway announced their engagement. Askin has designs on the title as a means of providing for married life.
Some punishing losses have led to doubts over whether Maccarinelli should fight on. Similarly, Dunstan’s days as fighter could be number after he suffered a first round knockout at the hands of Ola Afolabi in July.
Afolabi is due to box tonight on the undercard of the Vitali Klitschko v Tomadz Kolodziej world heavyweight title bill in Poland. Askin is not paying too much attention to the rankings, however.
He said: “Maybe it is good to get recognition in this way, but when you get to the top ten everyone is capable of beating each other. I thought Maccarinelli and Dunstan were both supposed to have retired anyway. Rankings are all very good but it is what happens in the ring that matters.”
Before he next gets back into the ring, Askin has a number of issues to settle, not least some regarding his management.
Brian Hughes, his former manager, has retired from the fight game and Askin had to get special dispensation from the British Boxing Board Of Control to fight at the Tower without a registered manager.
In the meantime, Askin has been more than happy to work with the Ricky Hatton organisation. He said: “As far as I am concerned, I have the best team behind me getting the best fights for me.”
One of those contests could be against Jon Lewis-Dickinson, who won Prizefighter but later lost to Blackpool’s Richard Turba.
Askin said: “I could fight him in December in what should be an eliminator for the British title. Winning that will set me up for an exciting 2012 and a shot at the title.”
Askin was well satisfied with his demolition job on South American Garay at Blackpool recently but he confessed: “I was so nervous for that fight, it was unreal.
“The crowd and the atmosphere was amazing ... and I still get nervous when I watch a recording of it on TV.”